Monday, June 16, 2008
Batteries Not Included
We are behind the eight ball in every way today, so forgive me for not getting to your questions right away. Things are tough all over, as they say. The eighth grade boys who help me with things internet have encouraged me to add advertising to our little convent in the tubes. Since I can't have a bake sale (even though Sister St. Aloysius would be willing to do all of the baking), I went with it.
I was very concerned that the ads would be inappropriate. There have been a couple that were bad. For example, a book about the life of Jesus and Mary Magdelene as husband and wife that wasn't even the Da Vinci Code. At least the author had the good sense to call it fiction. Still, I found that pretty creepy. There was an excerpt from the book about their eyes meeting and such. Creepy. And a picture of the author looking just so happy with herself. Creepy squared.
There have been a couple that were questionable. A clickable 'accept Jesus' prayer. I can't find any real fault in the prayer, just that it had a distinct 'separated brethen' feel to it.
But I've been very happy with most of the content: rosaries, patron saints, books, the Vatican. All good.
So it was with great curiosity that I clicked on the "Electronic Rosary".
Here's the thing: the rosary is such a simple device. It doesn't really need to be any more simple. Beads on a string. For counting. If you had more fingers you could just use your fingers. If you were one of those people who sat in a cabin in Alaska and became so bored you learned to play the guitar with your feet, you could use your fingers and your toes.
I have trouble imagining that anyone needs an electric rosary to count for them. The people selling the electric rosary mention that it's good for people with arthritis because you just push a button. I can't imagine that's any easier for your arthritis than moving to the next bead. If you have arthritis, you could lay your rosary down on a table and point to the next bead. But I only have a little arthritis, so what do I know?
I can imagine that children might get a bang out of it. It looks like a little space ship. It lights up.
And it talks.
When it talks, what sounds like a whole convent of nuns saying the "Hail Mary". It's like you are praying with a whole convent of nuns.
Enter Sister St. Aloysius.
"You could just turn it on and have that whole convent praying for you! That is just lovely!"
"It's so that you can pray the rosary..."
"Yes, but if you were occupied with something else, you could turn it on and have the nuns pray for you...I don't mean in your place...I mean pray for you, as in 'I'll pray for you', like when people ask us to pray for them."
"It's a recording. The nuns aren't praying."
"But they would if you asked them. And if they knew you were using their voices to pray for you they'd be happy. If sin is about intent, certainly we can imagine that prayer can be as well."
Somehow I can't really go along with the idea that when I intend to pray and don't, it still counts. I am certain that she is correct in assuming that the nuns would be happy to pray for you just about constantly, until their batteries wore out. What do I know? I'm not going to argue.
What I can't seem to find out is how the device changes mysteries over from one set of mysteries (Joyful to Sorrowful to Glorious to Luminous) to the next. It would be just great if electronic rosary kept track of which mystery to say on what day. People have a real problem keeping track of what mystery goes where. I made a chart of it for the fourth graders once on the black board and when I was done it looked like John Madden had been there.
I'm not sure how I feel about the electronic rosary. (Much better than I feel about the Mr. and Mrs. Jesus book, certainly.) But for it's retail price of $34 not including shipping, I'll go back to a pocket full of rocks if need be.
It's tough out there.